พรรคแมลงสาบ [phak malaengsap] or ‘cockroach party’ is a derogatory term, widely used by the general public to refer to the Democrat Party based on its longevity and high resilience to stay in power. Many may attribute the term to its long controversial history, but the term was first used in 2002 from within the Democrat Party itself as Kanok Wongtrangan was looking for a model to navigate the politics of the time.
A rock singer’s charity campaign has sparked debate over the ethics of donations, while a senior academic is facing a lèse majesté lawsuit for criticising King Naresuan, who ruled the kingdom of Ayutthaya 400 years ago. Thailand’s lèse majesté law is notorious for its excessive punishments and broad interpretations.
The former fugitive Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has threatened to take legal actions against those accusing him of royal defamation. The former PM wrote on his twitter account on 9 October 2017 that he felt ‘extremely uncomfortable’ about the recent statement of Khemchai Chutiwongse, the Attorney General, that he will be indicted under Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the lèse majesté law.
After five years of legal struggle, a court has confirmed a ban on a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’, which touches on sensitive historical topics. On 11 August 2017, the Administrative Court maintained a ban on ‘Shakespeare Must Die’, a political film with references to the 6 October 1976 student massacre and the political violence during the red shirt demonstrations in 2009. The leading character of the movie, called ‘Dear Leader’, is believed to be based on the controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin Shinawatra has urged Thailand’s ruling junta to stop blaming him for political violence, adding he wants no place in the military government’s ongoing reconciliation efforts. On 31 March 2017, the exiled former Prime Minister condemned the junta on his Facebook page for its failure to handle the country’s economy.
Under military rule, social order is attained at the expense of economic growth while elected governments usually lead to political turmoil.
Thailand’s political landscape seems haunted by figures, events and images that once symbolised progressive change. Such change arguably has not come, yet the same symbols linger on, in newspapers, activist pamphlets and state media.
Junta chairman and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha today accused the de facto leader of the Redshirt movement of plotting the recent resumption of public protests against his military regime.
The Thai military have summoned 2 journalists in the northern province of Chiang Mai for a discussion over a news report about a red bowl inscribed with Thai new year greetings from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thai military summoned a villager in the northern province of Chiang Mai for posting a picture of a red bowl with the signature of the controversial former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on it and accused her of sedition.